Correct gender identification in monomorphic species is often difficult especially if males and females do not display obvious behavioral and breeding differences. We compared gender specific morphology and behavior with recently developed DNA techniques for gender identification in the monomorphic Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). Gender was ascertained with DNA in 213 individuals using the 2550F/2718R primer set and 3% agarose gel electrophoresis. Field observations using behavior and breeding characteristics to identify gender matched DNA analyses with 100% accuracy for adult males and females. Gender was identified with DNA for all captured juveniles that did not display gender specific traits or behaviors in the field. The molecular techniques used offered a high level of accuracy and may be useful in studies of dispersal mechanisms and winter assemblage composition in monomorphic species.
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Gender identification of Grasshopper Sparrows comparing behavioral, morphological, and molecular techniques